Allow me to say that I love Intel as much as you doJ. You really do, right? 😉 😛 Yeah, they make really cool products and they engage in a lot of community stuff. They are actually amazing at what they do. Wow, can’t believe I’m so appreciative! But, damn! When it comes to their product naming schemes, they bust hell lot of noise in my mind. I mean, what the heck are these Core i3, Core i5, and Core i7 processors? Oops! Suddenly I realized I’ve let you know something that I didn’t have to. But, really this Core series takes the cake for me.
Here, we’ll get to the detailed part later on, but firstly I want to ask why do we need product names for processors in the first place? Wouldn’t it be much simpler if we simply label them with how many Gigahertz they run on and call it a day? It’s simpler sort of, but at times actually even more confounding.
How to understand this?
For instance, when Pentium 4 launched, as a customer I expected it to be better than the previous version, simply because it contained the higher number. But, ironically, an equivalently clocked Pentium 3 was actually faster, because it could perform more work with each cycle. So in that specific scenario, I figured out the problem with this naming thing.
Not all Megahertz and Gigahertz are created equal and rating products in that manner is just like rating the performance of a car on the basis of what RPMs the engine runs at. So, It’s not an indication of the speed of the processor. Now, Intel did try to move out of this confusion thing by introducing their performance rating naming scheme in the early 2000s.
In this scheme, their processors were given a four digit model number that enthusiasts believe was based on the performance Intel felt that they delivered compared to an Intel CPU of the same clock speed. But, were there any results? Nope, this fixed nothing at all. Intel was still indirectly naming the processors according to clock speed. Now, let’s see what we have today from Intel.
What are their different processors?
Other than the very bearable Intel Pentium processor, Core i3 is the most basic option having two cores and hyperthreading (for enhanced multitasking), smaller cache, less power consumption, a little worse performance than Core i5, but costing definitely lesser.
In case of Core i5, I just wish I could say that it has 4 cores, which is wrong. Going by the higher version, math just gets so spontaneous, really! But, here is again the catch, since it’s the Intel naming scheme, remember? 😛 😉 Mobile Core i5 processors have 2 cores and hyperthreading, while the desktop ones have 4 cores and no hyperthreading. But, what all core i5 processors have in common are the improved onboard graphics and turbo boost (for temporary performance enhancements).
Now, with the latest superstar in mind, which is Core i7, all Core i7s have hyperthreading (for heavy workloads), 2-8 cores, 2-8 memory sticks, 10W-130W TDP, more cache, faster turbo boost, better onboard graphics. So, to narrow it down, that’s what those Core inumbers represent- good, better, best in their given segments. Besides that, they are pretty much meaningless.
So, the safest way to shop is to dig around and look at the features, clock counts, and clock speeds of the CPUs you’re comparing in order to figure out how they stack up. The good news here is that as long as you compare within one brand and within the same product generation, those metrics will actually mean something.
Got anything to share on the Core story?